Celebrity Names Blog

Celebrity Baby Name Alert: Dakota Jefferson

You know him as one half of the country music duo Big & Rich.  Now Big Kenny's family is a little bigger.  The singer, whose real name is William Kenneth Alphin, this week announced the adoption of Dakota Jefferson Holiday Alphin.  Baby Dakota joins older brother Lincoln William.

Dakota is derived from the Sioux word meaning allies or friends and was the name given to the northern Plains Indians (also known as Sioux and Lakota), from which the state names North and South Dakota were adopted. As a first name, Dakota first became a popular boys name in the 1980s, peaked at #91 in the 1990s and has been falling off ever since it broke through as a girls name (thanks, Dakota Fanning!).  Dakota ranks in the mid-200s on both the boys' and girls' charts in the U.S. today. (for more on boys' names becoming girls names, check out this post - Where Have All the Boys' Names Gone?) Regionally, for both boys and girls, Dakota tends to be most popular in Western and Southern states.

As a brother to Lincoln William,  Dakota Jefferson has a near-perfect symmetry.  Both names sound distinctly contemporary, while recalling U.S. history. Both names are Plains state place names and reference 19-Century U.S. history. And both names refer to a Presidential namesake -- and the two middle names together, William and Jefferson, are the given name of a more recent President -- Bill Clinton.

Readers of this blog were not fans of the baby name choice of Big Kenny's musical partner, John Rich, who named his newborn son Cash back in January.

What do you think of this latest addition to the Big & Rich family?



Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

September 18, 2010 11:58 AM
By ClaireP (not verified)

I know how sensitive so many Native Americans are about having other parts of their culture expropriated - and who can blame them, after so much of what they had was stolen and destroyed? How do they feel about the use of their tribal names or words by others?

September 18, 2010 6:57 PM
By Jennie

When we've written about native American names in the past we also pointe dto this post: http://www.native-languages.org/baby.htm

September 19, 2010 3:34 PM
By Dominique

The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota are three different tribes, each with their own language. I believe the Lakota and Dakota languages are very similar -- so that in practice they're like different dialects rather than different languages, but I'm not sure about that. Hmm, I wonder if naming practices are similar across all three tribes, or if favorite Dakota names differ from favorite Lakota names. Anyone know?

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